Emirates To Begin Retiring Its Airbus A380 Fleet

Emirates is to start the process of retiring its Airbus A380 fleet. The move, which was anticipated, will eventually result in the reduction of the number of aircraft to 90-100 by the mid-2020s.

An Emirates Airbus A380. Photo: Emirates

The airline added the first A380 to its fleet back in 2008 and announced earlier this year that it plans to retire them fully in the 2030s. As Emirates cut their final delivery by 39 aircraft, Airbus announced that it would cease producing the A380 in 2020. The final deliveries to Emirates will take place in 2021. This makes them the last airline to still have A380s on order, apart from one for ANA.

Why is Emirates withdrawing the Airbus 380 fleet?

Emirates Airline president Tim Clark told Flight Global, “We have aircraft coming out as their [operating] leases end, or when their financial leases end if they are wholly owned.”


Explaining the reason behind the decision, Clark added, “They are under retirement because we’ve got a major overhaul coming up and it’s best to take the old aircraft out – they’re all written down – and take the gear off them rather than buy a $25 million main landing gear. I need two, possibly three, to meet that [overhaul] requirement.”


The A380 will remain part of the Emirates fleet for years

Despite the announcement, it is expected for the A380 to continue to be a part of the Emirates fleet for the foreseeable future. According to Clark, the aircraft will still be seen in the airline’s fleet up to 2035. The A380 retirement is to be progressive, first stabilizing at about 115 aircraft, and then going down to 90-100 by the middle of the 2020s.

Emirates doesn’t believe there is a viable secondhand market out there for its A380 fleet, so it decided to get all the life out of the planes before discarding them. This means passengers won’t have to say goodbye to A380 cabins just yet.

Emirates airline in flight
Emirates is the biggest operator of the A380 in the world. Photo: Emirates

Other airlines that plan to retire the Airbus A380 fleet

With Airbus concluding its A380 program at the beginning of 2020, airlines have already started to retire the aircraft from their fleet, even though some are still waiting for deliveries. Some of the airlines that decided to bid farewell to the A380 include Air France, Qatar Airways, and Singapore Airlines.

However, British Airways, which is one of the airlines with most A380s in its fleet, decided that there is plenty more life in the aircraft, being interested in using A380s to replace some of its dwindling 747s.


Emirates A380 business class cabin. Photo: Emirates

Even though some airlines such as Emirates are implementing their A380 retirement plan, others still find value in the aircraft, especially when it comes to replacing their aging fleet.


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First they couldn’t buy ’em fast enough. Now they are retiring them. Perhaps not the best planning.

Max W Bailey

As was noted in the article: “According to Clark, the aircraft will still be seen in the airline’s fleet up to 2035. The A380 retirement is to be progressive, first stabilizing at about 115 aircraft, and then going down to 90-100 by the middle of the 2020s”. They are still flying them for years to come.


Emirates keeps a young fleet regardless of the type. Their A340s were retired faster than this. Though at least some of them were sold on and continued to fly.


One day these airlines will wake up and discover that people love flying A380’s and 747’s and dislike being crammed into small planes very much.

Hart Ed

The promised economics of the A380 were just not there. And today it needs new engines and an approximate 70 ft stretch to get to acceptability. But with the stretch, it becomes even harder to fill. In the meantime, the two-engined 777X will be FAR more economical than ANY version of the four-engined A380 could ever be….and the 777X will haul more than twice the paying freight in its belly.

Hart Ed

From 2009:

comment image


2035 is at least. It could be longer…
Quoting from a FlightGlobal article: “This aircraft will still be flying in Emirates in 2035. The fleet will stabilise at about 115…and then probably go down to about 90-100 by the middle of the next decade. So, the A380 will remain a major component of our fleet mix for the next 15 years at least…”

And HiFly is appetizing for more A380s if you don’t know

Peter Neesman

Whatever you do Emirates, France, Singapore (etc), be sure to retire the airplane that has the room passengers love and replace them with cramped 777’s. Why would we expect different?

Michael Bowman

Uh, if you look at the A350, A330neo,787 and 777, there is a lot of space inside those birds. I think you are referring to the A321 and 737


Space in a twin-aisle twin is a matter of airline choice and design. I have even experienced a relatively cramped business class on a 787, but regardless, the A350 is of course unbeatable regardless of airline greed.


Cramped 777? I think you’ll find exactly the same (Economy) seats in both aircraft with a 3-4-3 layout. 777 actually has slightly more legroom. Check your facts before posting.


2035 is still a long way to go!!!!


Not when we’re talking about planes that haven’t even been built yet. 2035 is the retirement date for the A380s Emirates is going to take delivery of in 2021.

Mohammed Kaif

I wish that A380 will live for ever
Airbus should make a new technology for meeting up its losses so that our favourite A380 would not get retired just like that supersonic commercial planes.
A380 is everyone favourite even the pilot love it’s cute structure and it’s body it is heaven for pilot and passenger I request Emirates and Airbus please not to retire A380 please this is the only plane who is godfather of all the airplane among other plane in the world.